Kerala sexual assault case: SC dismisses complainant’s plea to transfer trial to another court
The petitioner alleged bias in hearing of the case claiming that one of the ten accused persons in the case, actor Dileep, has close ties with the judge.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition moved by the complainant in the 2017 Kerala sexual assault case seeking to transfer the matter to another trial court, reported PTI.
The petition had alleged that the trial at the Principal Sessions Court in Ernakulam had been biased since one of the ten accused persons in the case, actor Dileep, had close ties with the trial judge and her husband.
The complainant, also an actor, was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused inside her car for two hours on February 17, 2017.
The complainant moved the top court after the Kerala High Court dismissed her plea in September, observing that there were no grounds to show the personal bias of the judge, reported Bar and Bench.
At Friday’s hearing the bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar asked Senior Advocate R Basant, appearing for the petitioner, to cite concrete instances showing bias, reported Live Law.
Basant said that the judge had allowed improper questions to be asked to the complainant during the trial. The counsel also said that the sessions court judge refused to allow forensic examination to find out if changes had been made to a memory card which allegedly contains visuals of the crime.
Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Dileep, alleged that the petition was an attempt to delay the trial, reported Live Law.
The top court dismissed the plea, holding that shifting the trial to a different court will set a “bad precedent”.
“We cannot allow all such petitions alleging bias, judges will not be able to discharge their duties without fear and favour then,” the Supreme Court said. The judges also said that in such matters, the High Court has to take the final call.
On December 15, 2020, the top court had passed a similar judgement, when the complainant had sought to change the judge in the trial. The woman had alleged that the presiding judge was biased and failed to stop the defence lawyers from continuously questioning her character.
The top court had said that the allegations against the trial judge were “unwarranted”. It also observed that such comments will affect the morale of the judge.